7:30am Saturday 28th April 2012
A 92-year-old cyclist who served on an arctic convoy and took part in the D-Day landings has died.
Lon Pullen died of a heart attack at his home in Hampton Court Road, by Hampton Court Park, on Saturday, April 21.
Fellow cyclists and well-wishers from the Kingston Wheelers will hold a cycle convoy before his funeral, pulling his coffin on a bike.
His only daughter, Judy Wilcox, 65, who lives in north London, said: “[His coffin] will be cycled through Kingston and will probably bring the town to a halt, which would please him no end.
“The only thing he could not do towards the end was ride his bike, which was a great loss to him.”
His nephew, Lindsay Pullen, said: “He was quite remarkable in many ways. He served on an arctic convoy, took part in the D-Day landings.
“He was on HMS Orion, which got dive bombed by a Stuka, and evacuated off Crete.
“That was just his war career.”
Mr Pullen, who described himself as “twice married, twice divorced, now a cranky bachelor” was hugely talented, speaking four languages fluently and loved photography.
He wrote books on cycling, including the Pitman Book of Cycling, as well as articles for Cycling Weekly.
His naval career began in December 1939 and he took part in the evacuation of Crete, and took troops from Egypt to besieged Tobruk.
According to Portsmouth Museum, which featured him as part of a D-Day veterans exhibition, he received a Royal Humane Society medal and was mentioned in Despatches for rescuing sailors from a torpedoed ship. He commanded landing craft at Sword Beach and he was injured at Omaha Beach. He finished the war as a pilot with the Fleet Air Arm.
His daughter said he died after suffering three heart attacks in the space of about a week, each time discharging himself from hospital, before suffering a massive heart attack on April 21.
His funeral will take place at Kingston Crematorium on May 4 at 11.30am.
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